By Michael Rich
Zach McIntire drove the left lane, spun and sank a layin at the buzzer to give host Delaware Hayes a 59-57 victory over rival Buckeye Valley to open the boys basketball season Friday night.
“He’s a tough matchup because you can’t put a big guy on him because he’ll go around him,” Pacers coach Jordan Blackburn said. “You can’t put a little guy on him because he’s got a good post game.
“So, down the stretch, we were just riding that. He was able to make enough plays to get us a win.”
McIntire led all scorers with 24 points and added eight rebounds.
“Zach did a nice job on the boards,” Blackburn said. “A couple of times we wished he could have passed it to himself because he makes pretty good decisions.”
Sam Midura, starting in place of the injured Will Yoakum, had 11 points and 18 rebounds (12 defensive and six offensive).
“In our first four scrimmages, he played (junior varsity),” Blackburn said. “(Friday night), he was a key, key cog in what happened. I thought that was important.”
The Barons (0-1) trailed by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter before solid defense led to a 12-4 run to cut it to 41-39 with just under five minutes left. Buckeye Valley forced Hayes to turn it over 28 times, 14 of them on steals.
“We still have to work on our press break,” Blackburn said. “We had some error screens that we’d like to touch up. We’re nowhere near where we’re going to be.”
BV’s Grant Kelly hit a deep two from the right side to tie it with under one second remaining in regulation.
Kelly scored 15 points to lead the Barons, including 13 in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also added three steals.
Jake Bourget scored 12 points and had four assists for the Pacers (1-0).
“Jake didn’t play very well tonight, but toward the end of the game, he had several assists and made 5-of-6 free throws,” Blackburn said.
Mitch Rotondo had 14 points, four rebounds and four steals. Jesse Tomlinson added 11 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Buckeye Valley is right back at it tonight at Big Walnut. Hayes is back in action Tuesday night, hosting Pickerington North.
Savitha Jayaraman led the way with 15 points and Bre Yashko added 13 as Liberty improved to 2-0 with a 58-47 non-league win over visiting Thomas Worthington Friday in Powell.
The Patriots set the tone with a 12-7 first quarter and, after the teams played an even second, outscored the Cardinals 17-13 in the third to pull away.
Katie Harrop and Lauren Hofer were also solid in the win, finishing with nine and eight points, respectively.
Also: Big Walnut 52, Franklin Heights 44
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.